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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 53 (2011) 6, 343 - 353

Review article

Transcranial magnetic stimulation as a treatment for depression

D.J.L.G. Schutter

summary 
background The high incidence of depressive disorder in the Netherlands calls for additional forms of therapy. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (tms) is a form of non-invasive brain stimulation that has been investigated in the last 15 years in order to find out whether this form of stimulation is effective in the treatment of depression.
aim To discover whether tms has proved effective in the treatment of depressed patients.
results Results show that tms treatment is safe when applied to the frontal lobes of the cerebral cortex and that the therapeutic effect is comparable to the effect of psychotherapy and antidepressants. Future studies should concentrate on an increase in efficiency by providing more insight into the working mechanisms and the effect of individual differences. Follow-up studies are needed to investigate the duration of the antidepressive effect.
conclusion TMS seems to be a promising tool for the treatment of depressive disorders. However, there are many questions and uncertainties about the efficiency and applicability of tms.

keywords depression, efficacy, mood disorders, therapy, transcranial magnetic stimulation, treatment